Edits Please!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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emkay625
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Edits Please!!

Postby emkay625 » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:20 pm

Any and all feedback appreciated.

Two Years in Room 216

Any performer will tell you that the most magical moment in theatre happens before the show has even begun. The moment that means the most is the split second of anticipation on opening night that occurs after the house lights have dimmed, the curtain has gone up, and the audience waits for the actor with the first line to speak. For the actor, this moment is everything. In that second, as a performer, you are filled with a mix of adrenaline, hope and excitement unmatched by any other.

This moment exists inside the four walls of a classroom, too. I learned this while gulping nervously, last August, in front of 37 freshman who were waiting to hear what I, their Algebra I teacher, had to say on the first day of school. That split-second of mystical silence in front of my students began what would become the most demanding journey of my life.

The beginning of my first year in Teach For America was marked by both failure and a sheer determinant to become a more effective teacher. At first, my students were performing, on average, five years below grade level in mathematics. I knew, though, that my students, one-hundred percent of whom lived below the poverty line, could not afford for me to be complacent with the status-quo in urban education. One afternoon, Serenity Hernandez, a shy student with glasses in my fifth-period class, stopped by my room after school. After about ten minutes of tutoring, Serenity slammed her pencil on the desk and said to me, “I just don’t see the point. It’s not as if I’ll go to college. No one in my family has gone.”

Serenity’s words changed everything. At that point, I knew that I had to frame Algebra in a larger picture. In order to have an actual impact on my students and the community, I needed to focus on putting them on a path to a meaningful destination – higher education. I immediately went to work on creating goals with my students and action plans to lead them there. Together, we set a three-pronged goal: to master eighty-five percent of college level Algebra standards, to raise every student’s SAT score by 150 points, and to create an individualized “College Action Plan” for each student.

Initially, my efforts were met with resistance from nearly everywhere. For example, the administration at my school put up a staunch protest to teaching anything that was not part of AgileMind, our scripted curriculum, even though what I was teaching was more rigorous. To gain their support, I set up weekly planning meetings with the administrative team so I could share my students’ assessment data and show them how college-level standards could help students succeed on the state-standardized exam.

As the year went on, my students’ performance improved rapidly. But in November, I still felt like I wasn’t doing enough to maximize the potential I saw in my students. I wanted to see them blossom as scholars, critical-thinkers, and communicators, and one activity accomplished that for me in high school – competitive forensics. The week after Thanksgiving, I approached my principal, Ms. Marsh, and asked her if I could start a debate team. After obtaining her enthusiastic approval, I sprang into action. I spent countless hours recruiting students, coaching their rhetorical skills, adjudicating practice rounds, and calling every business in San Antonio in order to raise money for tournament entry fees.

In March, I watched as my students crossed the stage to accept the award for winning the district debate championship. At that moment, I felt a sense of pride in what my students had accomplished, but, more importantly, a sense of urgency that it was not enough. My first year in Teach For America instilled many things in me – it enhanced my advocacy skills, enriched my ability to lead others and sharpened my skills as a communicator. Most importantly, it taught me that when seeking to make an impact on the lives of others, you can never be satisfied. Despite their successes in my classroom and in competitive forensics, I have continued to watch my students confront immigration issues, domestic violence and economic injustice on a daily basis.

These issues are why I seek to obtain a legal education from Northwestern University School of Law. My two years in room 216 have shown me that the continual pursuit of excellence, justice, and what is right cannot stray from our line of sight - even when things become difficult. Additionally, my success in public speaking, ability to effectively lead others, and pro-active approach to challenges will enable me to succeed as I pursue a career as a public interest attorney.

Looking back, I know that as a teacher, a leader, and a person, I am not the same woman who began this journey last August. Here I stand, poised on the brink of another one of those magical, opening night moments, ready and excited to begin my law degree. As the curtain falls on my two years of service with Teach For America, I know that the show has just begun.

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emkay625
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Re: Edits Please!!

Postby emkay625 » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:54 pm

also should mention that if you guys don't think this works for a ps, i'm considering tweaking it for a diversity statement instead.

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emkay625
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Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:31 pm

Re: Edits Please!!

Postby emkay625 » Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:21 am

Anything?

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Strange
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Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:23 am

Re: Edits Please!!

Postby Strange » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:43 pm

this is a well written essay, and I like how you used the analogy of the actor performing, although I have a feeling that it might be something adcoms will see in other statements. I think you're good to go. My only quibble is that, do you have any grades or marks that would show how much youre students improved? You talked about setting goals, do you have any benchmarks or results that you could talk about to show that you reached those goals? The only thing you mention is the debate team. Quantitative results can impress adcoms. Good luck and please read mine in your PM box :)

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Strange
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Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:23 am

Re: Edits Please!!

Postby Strange » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:47 pm

you may also want to trim it down, this comes to three pages

But you dont need any edits, you're a very eloquent writer

CanadianWolf
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Re: Edits Please!!

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:54 pm

With a 173 LSAT & four years of work experience including a stint with Teach For America, and an effective PS, you should be admitted to Northwestern.

Your personal statement essay is a bit long & the first paragraph should be refined, but overall it is effective at conveying your message & in painting a positive image of you.

Not sure if you are using the word "determinant" correctly.

Your essay includes several sentences that need to be stated in a more definitive manner. For example, "...this moment is everything." & "Serenity's words changed everything." These sentences are too vague.

In the first paragraph: "The moment that means the most is..." is poorly worded. CONSIDER: "The most anticipated moment occurs on opening night in the split second after the house lights have dimmed..."

"...unmatched by any other." Again, this phrase is too vague.

Overall, your personal statement works because it is well constructed, fairly clear & presents you in a positive light. The negatives center on poor word choices & awkward sentences that are frequently vague. Your thoughts, as evidenced by your words, lack precision and this inhibits clarity & brevity.
After one semester of law school, I suspect that you will write in a more clear, concise manner.

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emkay625
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Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:31 pm

Re: Edits Please!!

Postby emkay625 » Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:02 pm

Thanks guys! Editing now.




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